Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Holiday Season

As we reach December and the holiday season there are many events coming up to finish the year. Many Lodges will be holding elections and installations on the next few weeks. Several are finishing fall degree work and there are even some awards nights coming up. As our personal lives are becoming busy with holidays and family events our Lodges are also continuing to be very active.

For those Brothers that are just completing their time in the East thank you for all that you have done over the past year. To those that are getting ready to lead I wish you the best and remind you that if you ever need help or advice contact either your District Rep. or myself.

As many of you know I maintain a blog which includes a calendar of SE Area Events. I am always happy to list upcoming events on this calendar I just ask that you send me the information at

On a personal note. Thank you to the brothers that answered the call to help assist a poor distressed brother at a midnight hour. Your help, aid, and assistance was not only greatly appreciated but gave me a very real view of our Craft.

I wish all a safe and happy holidays but don't lose sight of your Lodges and your brothers there are still many events coming this month. See you down the road...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Quick Start to Fall

What a great way to start the fall Lodge season. As Lodges have come back from summer there are so many things happening that it just amazes me to see the energy and passion.

So far we have had our Area Conference where 20 Lodges were represented, Albert Lea held an table Lodge and awards night and we had a school of instruction where we had over forty brothers in attendance. These are just a few of the events that occurred in September. As I look at October it is just jam packed with events. Several Lodges will be starting degree work, Rochester is hosting the Mayo lecture (10/9) as well as an open house (10/20), Pleasant Grove is holding their annual table Lodge on 10/20, Farmington will be re-dedicating their Lodge this month (10/10) and we will finish the month with another school of instruction in Chatfield on 10/29.

Yet the biggest event of them all will be held in Rushford on 10/24. This will be the first event in Minnesota with the new KidsID. Several of you saw a demonstration of the new system during the September school of instruction. I hope you will be just as excited for the new system that will help us do a much better job of helping our families and neighbors protect their children. The new system is very simple to use and is more accurate than the old system. If you want to see it in action head over to Rushford on the 24th.

See you down the road...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is your Lodge ready for Fall

Can you believe it summer is almost over the State Fair is upon us with Labor Day and the start of school just around the corner. While we are all trying to squeeze as much as possible out of the last few days of summer it is time to start planning for fall activities in the Lodge.
Now is the time to get those petitions filled out and submitted to your Lodge secretary. With all the activity of the summer there should be several men that you know that have seen the good works that we do and the fun that we have. I don't know of a Lodge in the Southeast that wouldn't love to start the fall off by reading a petition and then having to schedule degree work.

If your Lodge doesn't currently have any petitions in the works why not schedule an open house or information night. Invite men that you feel would make a good Mason and make him feel welcome and let him see the type of men that make up our Lodges. An information night or open house is also a great way to involve the entire family in a function down at the Lodge.

I do know of several Lodges that are either scheduling degree work or open houses for this fall. There are a couple of other major upcoming events over the next month or two that with some planning could provide another way to share Masonry with a friend: on October 9th there will be a dinner and historical presentation about the Mayo brothers and Masonry, the other is the re-dedication of Corinthian Lodge in Farmington as well as the Cornerstone laying ceremony at the new University Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Any of these might be good events and activities to introduce someone to who we are and what we do.

We also have a couple of events coming up for all of the Lodges in the Southeast. On September 19th we will be holding our annual Leadership Conference. This year's conference is for the Wardens with the focus being on developing plans and preparing to become the Master of your Lodge. Then on September 29th is the third school of instruction at Pleasant Grove.

Hopefully you will find that fall will fly by with all of the Lodge activities. See you down the road.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Great Man among his Brothers

On Sunday night Star in the East Lodge #33 presented WB Gene Miller with the Hiram Award. The festivities were held at the Owatonna Elks Club which included a social hour and a great dinner followed by the presentation. The dinner was attended by 50 guests including several members of WB Gene's family as well as a past Potentate of Zuhrah. We had guests travel many miles to help celebrate the night. During the course of the night several brothers shared stories about WB Gene and what he has meant to them. I was most impressed when WB Rick Wallace, District Representative, was explaining who Hiram was and why we give the Hiram Award. WB Rick very eloquently explained who Hiram was and compared WB Gene to those characteristics. If you had never met Gene before Sunday night you would have walked away at the end of the night fully understanding why he was selected to receive this honor.

A great night was had by all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Unique Summer Activity

This summer several of the brothers in Rochester Lodge #21 have taken the time to learn some new skills. Over several Saturdays this summer these brothers have worked on learning to become Gentleman Masons. They have talked clothing, grooming, and proper etiquette while in polite company. These are skills that for many years were just taken for granted yet with our current society this skills are no longer taught at home yet can still be very useful.

While some of you may think that this topic is unneeded there are brothers throughout the United States that would disagree. In fact a new blog has been created by a brother called The Gentleman Mason. The following is from a post on that blog: "The Gentleman Mason isn’t just about wearing the right clothes, it’s about the right way for a gentleman to do, well, most anything. Anyone can be average. The Gentleman Mason will never settle for average."

We always say that we take a good man and make him better. Well this is a new approach that promotes brotherhood and fellowship. The Rochester group has a few meetings left if you are interested attending.

I applaud the brothers in Rochester that were ahead of the curve on this topic....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summertime in the Lodge

Summer is here! If you are not sure about that step outside, it is hot and humid. In past years when most Lodges would go dark this time of year, the lights are on and brothers are doing work. Several Lodges are still doing degree work this summer and most have activities planned for the upcoming months. As I write this Owatonna, Faribault, Mankato, Waseca, and Chatfield are just a few of the Lodges that are doing work this summer.

One way to keep active and put a public face on your Lodge is to be involved within your communities during festivals, celebrations and fairs. Enter a float in a local parade, host events for the community at your Lodge, plant trees in the park, help with a clean up day. There are many different ways that you can have a positive impact in your community as well as on your Lodge. One of the easiest ways to attract new members is by showing that we not only care about our community but also by showing that we have fun being with each other.It is also amazing to see several Lodges adding new events for their Lodges this summer. Many have added events that are open for the entire family and open for the entire Masonic family. While there are Lodges that have done this for years this is still new in many Lodges. Some are putting together potluck meals, others are bringing guest speakers, and some are just getting together to play cards and visit.

Just because it is summer doesn't mean that we need to turn off the lights and forget about Lodge until the fall. We are only limited by our imagination when it comes to good events for our Lodges and brothers.

See you down the road.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One Voice ~ revisited

As many of you know by now MW McCarthy by edict has rescinded the resolution that was passed on the floor of Grand Lodge this past weekend. As further information was presented and he was able to reflect on the big picture he took a stand that is in the best interest of the Craft. Time and due process will allow this to be sorted out, thankfully both sides of the story will eventually be told. For more information please read the opinion and decision as written by MW Tom.

I still stand by the fact that One Voice can change the world. In the 1940's, the University of Oklahoma was invited to join with many of the major universities of the Southeast. At that time one man (the Student Association President) stood up and said that it was Not in the best interest of all of the OU students because this conference had policies that would have marginalized a large segment of OU students based on race. OU never joined the Southeast Conference of Universities.

Throughout history there are many stories of One Voice and how they changed the world in their own little way. Let us never forget that as men and Masons, we too have One Voice and our gentle Craft gives us all a chance to express it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Voice

Over the years I have had several brothers ask why they should attend the annual session of Grand Lodge. Many times I have gone with the answer that it is their duty or some similar reason. I may talk about the different sessions and information that is presented. I may even discuss the friendships that are formed. Yet there is one reason that I over looked, One Voice. The One Voice that can change the world.

This past weekend I saw first hand how one voice from the floor can let an entire Grand Lodge start a new direction. I have heard of this happening in other jurisdiction. The Grand Lodge of Connecticut 20 years ago voted to recognize the Prince Hall Grand Lodge because of a motion from the floor, one voice had the strength to stand up for what he believed to be right. On Saturday from the floor came a motion that may have far reaching impact at least for on jurisdiction. Below is the motion that was overwhelmingly approve by the body because a few brothers had the strength of conviction to stand up for what they felt was right.

"Whereas the Grand Lodge of West Virginia has arbitrarily and recklessly ignored the will of their brethren, expelling a Past Grand Master without trial or redress, violating the ancient and accepted customs and tenets of our Fraternity and bring shame and disrepute on all Masons and Freemasonry, and

Whereas they have been named in a civil suit further bringing the Craft into public disrepute and scorn,

Therefore be it resolved that the Grand Lodge of Minnesota expresses its concern over these actions and will consider suspending recognition of the Grand Lodge of West Virginia upon the recommendation of our External Relations Committee at our next Annual Communication in 2010 if there is not correction of these actions and a renewed willingness by the Grand Lodge of West Virginia to enter into the modern fraternity of Freemasonry."

The next time I am asked why a brother should attend Grand Lodge, I now have a better answer: "Because one voice can change the world."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Are you Sharing your Knowledge

How long have you been a Mason? Has it been five or fifty years since you first knelt at the altar and took your obligation? In the years since, have there been brothers who took you under their wing and helped you become a better man and Mason? As our Lodges start to see a re-birth, who and where are the men taking our newest Masons under their wing? Our newest members don't receive Masonic knowledge simply by being brought to further light.

In the 90's we were told it takes a village to raise a child. This is something that our brethren have always known, for we are taught to labor to instruct and inform. Some Lodges naturally do this, it is part of their culture. Yet, in too many Lodges this tradition has been lost. Every Mason, regardless of age, deserves a Brother or group of Brothers that he can turn to during his lifelong journey for more light.

In my travels I have met a lot of Brothers and been in more Lodges than I can count. I can always tell the Lodges that have a culture of mentoring, whether it is formal or not. They are the Lodges that have full sidelines, great turnout for events, and where the Brothers truly care for each other. Thanks to all the men who have taken the time and made the effort to take a Brother under their wing. You truly are what keeps the Light of Masonry shining as the next generation starts to labor in the quarries.

Who has helped you on your journey, who have you helped? It is how we help our Brothers that the greatest impression of Masonry is presented.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Calling all SE Area Lodge Leaders


I have been asked by RWB Tom Hendrickson, Jr Grand Warden, to invite all Masters, Wardens and other Lodge leaders to attend Lodge in Owatonna on Monday, February 9th. After the stated communication RWB Tom would like to have a discussion with the SE Area Lodge leaders about Masonry in SE Minnesota. This is a nice opportunity prior to Grand Lodge, at the end of March, to talk to one of our Grand Lodge leaders.

Please let me know if you plan on attending.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Cold Winter Night

Last night several Lodges from the Southeast Area came together for a School of Instruction on the Degree Lectures. The weather outside was cold and windy yet inside was warm with brotherhood. We had around 30 brothers present from 10 different Lodges and several of the lectures were put on by Brothers that are spending time learing the work for the first time. All of the work was done with great care and every brother left having learned some new piece of the ritual whether it was a pronunciation, the meaning of a word, or part of why we use a certain word here in Minnesota. A great thanks goes out to the brothers of Evergreen Lodge for hosting the school and making sure the heat was turned on, and to WB Brian Beerman and WB Don Olson for taking time to drive down from the metro to instruct the school. Our next school will be held in March in Rochester.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Scary and Sad Feeling

Last night I was in a Lodge that was doing the first degree for six candidates. The Lodge room was filled with 30+ brothers present. The degree work was great and the hard work of the brothers really showed. The first section of the lecture was presented by two brothers that had just been raised in December and they knocked it out of the park. It was great to see two new brothers step up and do such a great job.

The second section was presented by me. I have presented this lecture at least twice a year since I was first raised in 2001 so I am pretty comfortable with it. I got to "neiter naked or clad" and drew my first blank, with a prompt I was back on track until I got to the "altar" at which point it was totatlly gone. While I only needed a word here or there it was a very scary feeling standing in front of that many brothers and start drawing complete blanks. I felt that I had let my brothers and our new candidates down. I know many brothers who are very self-critical of the work they do (I am one of them), just remember we do the work for our new brothers and I have yet to meet one that doesn't appreciate the time and effort.

Thankfully, on Thursday 1/29 we will be having an Southeast Area School of Instruction for the lectures in Clyde. I know that I will be there listening and asking questions trying to learning new parts of the lectures. If you are working on learing a lecture for your Lodge's spring degree work this will be a great chance to get some help.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Gentle and Friendly Reminder

Yesterday I received an email from a brother that I greatly respect. This email was whispering good council into the ear of a brother. He was looking at this blog and noticed that it has not been kept current. His reminder was that if you are going to do something DO IT and do it to the best of your ability. To the Old Past Master thank you for the reminder and with that I will put more effort into keeping this blog up to date.